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MattyUK
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[edit] split and moved from beginners --kk5st/mod [/edit]

Hi All

Thanks for the links to read more. I also found:
http://www.andybudd.com/archives/2003/11/no_margin_for_error/

I think the validation point/debate is is possibly worht a new post. not sure right now whcih forum that should be put into.

Anyway here are my musings on the whole aspect.

Validation:

Quote:
yes beginners may not be aware of how to validate, but there is a whole heap of advice lying around the forum to this regard and if they took time out to actually read some of the help offered and to read some of the stickies they would have a good idea that it's something they would be needing to do, rather than just jumping in blindly with posts.

Ok so we don't want people jumping in blindly with posts? They should all be validated first? Do we feel the quality of forum posts isn't high enough? I guess I see that as a kind of a “cut off” or “put off” level for the forum. In forcing the posts to reach a technical standard before they are looked at we are requiring that level of skill in the newbies before they can use the forum.

I didn't think that was the way the forum was leaning. I thought perhaps it was for encouraging newbies to develop to that level of technical knowledge and beyond it. To do that we have to give every post the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps the real question is how should we deal with those that don't know how to validate or otherwise haven't validated their posts? My train of thought is help with the problem and encourage them too next time. Offering help with validation in the form of an invitation to post again. I'm not sure that forcing validation on someone who hasn't done it before is a great way to encourage them to return.

As regards info and advice lying around. Yes there is, and it is good. Newbies should be encouraged to read first, I agree. I also recognise that many won't thanks to time constraints or ignorance in recognising the answer when they spot it in a different form.

Quote:
There is little excuse for basic errors in markup

Yes there is, ignorance. In my case tiredness. I am sure there are others. I guess the key is what excuses/reasons are acceptable and what are not?

I am afraid I am in the camp of not forcing validation before help, just encouraging it and if it is the answer stating so.

I've never been sure that forcing them to validate would be a wise move for encouraging growth. I'd be behind strong encouragement rather than holding help/information to ransom for it.

I agree that in my case I should have validated. I knew how, I thought I had. A recheck would have been wise after the additional work putting in explanations. I was tired. Opps, sorry.

Maybe this is a topic for a new post rather than this one. Personally I feel they come to the forums for help. If they are sternly told to validate before they are given an answer or it is even looked at, it would hardly make them feel welcome, then on top of that the validation throws up more problems they are expected to fix before anyone will offer to help them on their original one. So now that are facing the learning curve of a new tool, lots of problems rather than the single one they had. Bear in mind that the other validation problems may have no impact on their original problem (sometimes it does granted).

It could easily be overwhelming for those already struggling with not using WYSIWYG and tables.

Their choice, tread that now steep learning curve (perhaps on a diminishing time available before they resort to tables and move back to what they know), or go elsewhere.

Perhaps being more gently encouraged... like being told that the page source, once validated, works fine. Or being given the solution/info and been told that their page as is contains many other errors that will likely cause problems and "why not validate?".

For me it was being given the solution to a problem and told that validation wasn't that hard and I might want to validate to identify a few more errors with the page that originally got me into it. Had I been told I must validate then given little help with the output from such a step I might have simply gone elsewhere.

I guess the key is dependent on if you wish the forums to have a lower skill “put off” level. Like only really deal with those that already know how to validate and deal with the results of such or those that need to learn too.

The submission of posts could also be revamped if you are serious about encouraging it to be more common practice amongst the new visitors. For example a click through page encouraging an online link to an example, a validate this link first option on that page or as a tool in the submission page. A validate this code block in the submission page.

Validation undoubtedly helps the developer but are you also trying to make things easier for those looking to reply to the posts? If so then perhaps another idea is a validate this code/link tool in the reading of a post page.

Hell these are just ideas to mull over and perhaps start a new thread off with.

A side point: Yes the info around here and other places

No response necessary (but undoubtedly welcome), the oringal point has been fully dealt with. Thank you.

Carrots encourage. Sticks enforce. Which is needed here?

Anonymous
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To enforce required validation or something less?

MattyUK wrote:
I am afraid I am in the camp of not forcing validation before help, just encouraging it and if it is the answer stating so.
So, you expect us to download a new guy's page. Run it through the validator. Fix all 592 errors. Validate again. Examine the page. Then report whether or not the problem was with incorrect markup or not.

I think you need to read this article:
http://diveintomark.org/archives/2003/05/05/why_we_wont_help_you

Willingness to validate shows a help yourself attitude. Also read this:
http://www.csscreator.com/css-forum/ftopic9114.html

Whether you or anyone else realizes it or not, we are not here to cater to the whim of every person that decides to join. We are willing to help but we will not do your work for you. We are, for the most part, professionals that should not be expected to take food out of our families mouths just because someone needs their web page written for them, at least not without some compensation (as in money).

MattyUK
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To enforce required validation or something less?

I haven't read the links yet but I can see your points. 592 pages would be a hell of a job to tackle for a freebie favour.

Quote:
Willingness to validate shows a help yourself attitude.

I'd agree with this too. I guess the question is if it is enforced and how so. Ignore every post not validated? Encourage the ones not validated or only force the heavy hitters (the 592 errors, not the 4 errors) to validate?

There is clearly a balancing point between the two camps of thought?

Quote:
Whether you or anyone else realizes it or not, we are not here to cater to the whim of every person that decides to join.

Yup I do. I'm sure others do too. No one asked for money until that happens no one has the right to expect anything from the forum.

Quote:
We are, for the most part, professionals that should not be expected to take food out of our families mouths just because someone needs their web page written for them, at least not without some compensation (as in money).

I have to partially agree here. This is a voluntary contribution of time. If you can spend the time better elsewhere (putting food in your families mouths perhaps) then do so. I do.

The difficult to understand posts and too complex posts sometimes don't get answered for those reasons. The time required to understand them is more than the reader wants to commit for free.

I think there are extremes in both camps of thought. I think neither extreme is right. The solution has to be a balance. Is that balance evident in the forums at the moment? Who knows. I guess it is only by swinging one way then the other and observing the results of membership signups and activity you'll work out what is best for the audience this forum attracts.

I would prefer not to force validation on new posters. I would like to ensure the tools to validate are a click away for posters and readers. I am fully behind encouraging validation and perhaps demanding it when the validations errors are too numerous, or obviously to blame.

I personally think we are too far into the validate first camp OR too harsh in how it is presented to newbies here.

I don't spend a lot have time here having hung around more at another forum. So I have no "weight" so to speak. I offer these thoughts and opinions simply as that.

I don't feel this is a big point either way and don't want to run it into an issue. I just thought the input may help/be of interest.

Why not make validation tools more readily available, integrated even into the pages even? Surely that would be better for both newbies and regulars of both camps.

Carrot not stick.

Carrots encourage. Sticks enforce. Which is needed here?

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Quote:
I am afraid I am in the camp of not forcing validation before help, just encouraging it and if it is the answer stating so.

The problem is, if we help them, the fix won't work in a lot of cases BECAUSE of th invalid markup.

Nice thoughts though, you may want to start a new topic in "Site Discussion" so we can decide on the best course of action.

Verschwindende wrote:
  • CSS doesn't make pies

Anonymous
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To enforce required validation or something less?

thepineapplehead wrote:
Nice thoughts though, you may want to start a new topic in "Site Discussion" so we can decide on the best course of action.
Yes. Do that. Smile

I agree that balance is the key but you must balance ALL the factors (including attitude).

MattyUK
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To enforce required validation or something less?

Fair enough. For now at least I have to put food in my families mouth so will try to revisit it later (tomorrow perhaps) and compose some thoughts.

Anyone else here is very welcome to start the thread up in my place. Perhaps a poll for newbies to comment on how they want to be treated (whilst pointing out they can't just have us code for them but we can help them learn).

Thanks again all for comments/help to date.

Carrots encourage. Sticks enforce. Which is needed here?

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Very similar discussion was had a while back in this thread.

How to get help
Post a link. If you can't post a link, jsFiddle it.
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Hugo
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To enforce required validation or something less?

It really is very simple and not that debatable Matt, firstly we do not "force" validation on people. Secondly there is no course of action to followed.

How it works (or should)

A poster posts a problem with code and link, if that code fails on some minor validation points then it should be ignored as it is not pertinent to the problem I personally would just make a footnote mentioning the need to correct errors/warnings.

If someone posts a page with clear examples of errors that are of a severe nature then there is absolutely no point taking the post any further and the poster must be requested to validate and fix those errors so that they can be removed from the equation as probable cause.

Both of the above responses can be carried out without causing offence! although it is mildly offensive and discourteous of people to ignore the forum guidelines and help offered, but that happens.

The last thing that should happen is that we allow beginners to believe it is fine to post up broken code, that will open the flood gates and every other post will be a request to fix up errors, validate ; how could that be any other way? would you have us correct peoples broken code for them?

Quote:
Ok so we don't want people jumping in blindly with posts? They should all be validated first? Do we feel the quality of forum posts isn't high enough? I guess I see that as a kind of a “cut off” or “put off” level for the forum. In forcing the posts to reach a technical standard before they are looked at we are requiring that level of skill in the newbies before they can use the forum.

Why do you want people to post without any preperation then, do you feel that is a good idea? are we to be damned for perhaps wanting the quality of posts to be of a "standard"? There is no cut off point. What were asking is that people have some clue as to what their doing, there are plenty of beginners tuts for HTML/CSS out on the web it's how I learn't most of my stuff; ok so maybe we are requiring that a certain level is reached, is that so wrong ?.

A point to remember is that this is a forum for matters dealing with CSS not specifically HTML if you present a problem to do with CSS and your HTML is badly written why should we be having to veer off the subject and explain to people how to fix up there HTML ( although we do do this with pleasure as a matter of course as the two are often tied together) but the point being that we should expect that at least the poster has some clue as to how to write well formed error free markup.

Requesting that someone validates their code is also a matter of judgement, one must judge first the level of importance to attach - in this instance- to the requirement of a validated page; an un-escaped ampersand is not actually going to cause rendering problems and chiefly should be ignored.

Due to the level of judgement required I would far prefer it if requests for validation came primarily from senior/long standing members who can apply that level of judgement, as there has been a propensity for people to jump on the bandwagon of validation, believing it to "cool" to be seen to be saying it.

So frankly yes we do require people present their work error free and I'm afraid that we will still, from time to time, be forced to utter those word "please validate". If the poster hasn't a clue that's fine we can explain further what they need to do; as we often have.

This is one of the most relaxed and friendly forums I've come across that offers this level of knowledge, people should really respect that fact and do their utmost to help ensure that it remains that way, and it will not remain that way if one allows standards to slip and for people to believe that they can just post up bad code with impunity. In some ways it about setting a standard to which they must rise to on that path to better understanding, not for us to have to descend to. Above all else this can all be done with good grace and humour when needed, but we have to be careful that we don't get jaded and start to loose patience with posts and that happens from enforcing a few pre-requisites from time to time.

Hugo.

N.B If your going to quote me then please do so in full, thankyou.

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Chris..S
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To enforce required validation or something less?

I agree with Hugo (although I didn't read all of his post Smile).

When I look at a post, my first thought isn't, "is this valid", its "can I see where the problem lies". Invalid code, messy code, large complex pages all get in the way of that. Really, the best help we can give someone who has got to that stage is:

- validate
- tidy
- isolate the problem

Those are all the things that someone who does try to provide a proper answer will have to do. Since they really aren't related to the problem at hand, it really is up to the poster to do them. And to repeat what I said above, in the long term encouraging them to do that is the BEST help we can give.

MattyUK
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To enforce required validation or something less?

Hi All

Hugo, that "How it works" guide represents the balance and flexibility I was under the impression existed here. I can't disagree with it. I hope it is in practice. Maybe if I spend more time here I'll see for myself.

My original comments were reacting to the impression that validation was in the pipelines to be forced on posters, or that there was a general feeling of moving to that. I recognise I was only reacting to an opinion of one well respected poster and he later agreed that forcing validation might not encourage newbies to post. Opinions have a way of promoting feedback as the original thread shows.

I don't have a problem with a "standards" cut off as described, I simply like it to be obvious and know when it is present. Perhaps to new visitors it is not obvious enough. I retain my opinion that it doesn't help growth but quality is also important and I fully accept you might play one off for the other.

I originally felt put out I had been bluntly asked to validate when validation did not impact the problem and the error was only a minor encoding mismatch. I quickly realised I had in fact copy and pasted code into textarea tags and had character encoding problems as well. Which gave 13 errors rather than one. I also quickly realised I should have validated a second time before posting, I knew how, was used to doing it and had no excuse. But I did feel that such a response to someone that didn't know how (read newbie) might easily have seen them walking away and that growth was a goal of the forum. Hence my comments. I do think the response to my initial post was fair and required have no beef with anything said. I did at that point perceive a “force a validate first” camp.

One suggestion I would like to come out of this is:
Why not make validation tools more readily available, integrated even into the pages even? Surely that would be better for both newbies and regulars.

Had such tools been a click away and notes in the posting process reminded me of the general practice I might have used them. As a whole most users are lazy and take the easiest/quickest route to the perceived goal/solution. Since this is human nature perhaps we should put validation at least on the roadside of the path to that solution. As a call to action in the post area perhaps.

Carrots encourage. Sticks enforce. Which is needed here?

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Hello campers. Hi-de-hi.

Perhaps you could cast your eyes over this one:

http://www.csscreator.com/css-forum/sutra72054.html#72054

I seem to have upset them. Maybe my use of English was poor. A lack of diplomacy?

Bear in mind his previous posts:

http://www.csscreator.com/css-forum/ftopic13709.html

and

http://www.csscreator.com/css-forum/ftopic13743.html

Trevor

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Oh dear, I might call that a slight case of over reaction, actually I call that an extreme and un-warranted case of over reaction and more irritatingly accusing you of things that you definitely did not infer but that the poster chose to imply, ho hum.

Hugo.

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Hugo wrote:

actually I call that an extreme and un-warranted case of over reaction

Hi

I felt like someone asking the wrong person for the time and getting my head kicked in. Did I do something wrong? what tripped his switch?

Ho hum.

Trevor

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Hi ClevaTreva

Humm another cry for integrating validation tools? People hate being told to do anything.

Most are easier to prompt than tell outright. Upfront demand to validate (however justified) is bound to get more backs up than numerous gentle prompts within the submission process. If they have a beef with the precess they won't post or at least won't take it out on those that respond to their post. If they fail to follow the obvious/many requests to validate and it is easy to do so then asking them to validate first (in caps or otherwise) is far more justified and less likely to mis-interpretation.

Perhaps a simple auto insertion, after regexp found links, as:
(validates?)

So someone types in a link and gets:
http://www.csscreator.com (validates?)

Or/and a validate before posting button along with the URL one. A "Why validate?" page/link in the posting area too explaining they really should validate if they expect help.

I'm sure more advanced/better solutions could be dreamed up too. You might need to regexp to different validation urls for css and html/xhtml etc. These are just starting thoughts.

Carrots encourage. Sticks enforce. Which is needed here?

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Matt, I think that the impression that were moving towards forcing validation on posters is slightly unfounded, we - as far as I can remember - have always made a point of expecting people to present work in some semblance of order as is in keeping with many forums of this nature, however we have also always been tolerant of the fact that many are new to such things and need guidance in these matters.

We are also fairly tolerant of the fact that many do not follow the basic forum precepts that before posting one lurk around, get a flavour of how the forum runs and to read the guidelines and any stickies that may be designed to help ( I guess that this was the meaning behind my slightly blunt phrase "jumping in blindly" but which is what many do) these are generic forum precepts and not particular to this forum.

While it may be true that requesting that someone checks their work for errors might put people off; it in itself is not an unreasonable request and I would expect one of two reactions to the request either that they do indeed go off and validate and return or they express a lack of understanding and request further guidance and I have never seen anyone decline such a request for further help. If someone flounces off in a huff then sorry but that is their problem and they need to deal with that if they want to get ahead.

As regards making the cut off point more obvious it's hard to know what to do. The posting guidelines were re-written to some extent but other than that there is little one can do and brings us back to the onus being on the newbie to read these things. What we definitely don't want to do is to labour these points as then we become that kind of heavy handed elitist forum that most of us that chose to hang out here, did so because it didn't have that attitude.

The issue of quality is more important than one may give due credit to. I have seen a number of forums fade away due to the quality of post declining to the point where the long standing members drifted away to pastures anew. It happens, and is something that does need to be guarded against , this is the difficulty though in balancing forum good nature and friendliness with a certain amount standards upkeep, but this is where a good set of moderators plays it's part.

We will always at times be guilty of jumping on someone unfairly over something such as validating, thankfully we do seem to get the balance pretty much right, but we are only human ( well some of us) and fall pray to occasionally loosing patience with the fourth post in a row that needs to be asked to fix up errors.

Growth should always be the goal of a community which is what forums are without growth stagnation sets in and that is also a slow death of things, but that growth must not be at the expense of standards and quality as that too can be the slow demise of things.

You were probably understandably in this instance, regarding your post, given to feel that perhaps you had been victim of the validate or be damned attitude (although I know the poster did not intend it in that way) but the fact was you chose to understand that request and work with it not go off in a huff and even to try and debate the issue in a sensible manner, people like yourself grow a forum and it matters not what level of competence they may have; absolute beginner or well versed they have the correct attitude and are not put off by a perception.

As for validating tools well they couldn't be easier if as we inform people often they were to develope using Firefox then those tools can be readily available.

Integrating something into the forum posting area would be an interesting idea and a challenge that I'm sure Tony would be up for and probably turn out in his sleep Smile

Hugo.

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Trevor it was nothing on the post that I got involved in where I asked that someone be careful with their tone when replying to people, having implied to my (correct) help that I clearly had not looked at his page nor understood the problem and clearly did not have the right answer Shock
He then proceeded to slag me off in the most appalling manner posting new posts just to call me names and to top it all he then went back in and edited his original post and others to make it look as though he had known it was a certain problem all along and that I was a deceitful useless cretin that didn't know what I was talking about and posted at length on the subject Of my appalling and downright disgraceful attitude Smile

Final straw was being called a "pompous insecure sissy" that hurt to the core and I still haven't got over that, shook my world completely Laughing out loud

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Anonymous
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To enforce required validation or something less?

MattyUK wrote:
I originally felt put out I had been bluntly asked to validate when validation did not impact the problem and the error was only a minor encoding mismatch.
Was it this post?

Triumph wrote:
MattyUK wrote:
Hi

Is this a box model problem or coding mistake?Well, you can't rule out a coding mistake until you fix your errors.

http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.realworldweb.co.uk%2Fexamplecode%2Fchild_margins_damage_container_background%2F

If so, I don't see the bluntness. :shrug:

Should I have added a Smile?

Anonymous
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To enforce required validation or something less?

MattyUK wrote:
People hate being told to do anything.
Even when asking for help? :? Maybe you mean "Children hate being told to do anything." Wink

MattyUK wrote:
Perhaps a simple auto insertion, after regexp found links, as:
(validates?)

So someone types in a link and gets:
http://www.csscreator.com (validates?)A clever idea. Simply implemented:
In bbcode.tpl change

<!-- BEGIN url --><a href="{URL}">{DESCRIPTION}</a><!-- END url -->

to
<!-- BEGIN url --><a href="{URL}">{DESCRIPTION}</a> (<a href="http://validator.w3.org/check?uri={URL}">validates?</a>) <!-- END url -->

and in bbcode.php change

	// matches an "xxxx://yyyy" URL at the start of a line, or after a space.
	// xxxx can only be alpha characters.
	// yyyy is anything up to the first space, newline, comma, double quote or <
	$ret = preg_replace("#(^|[\n ])([\w]+?://[^ \"\n\r\t<]*)#is", "\\1<a href=\"\\2\">\\2</a>", $ret);

	// matches a "www|ftp.xxxx.yyyy[/zzzz]" kinda lazy URL thing
	// Must contain at least 2 dots. xxxx contains either alphanum, or "-"
	// zzzz is optional.. will contain everything up to the first space, newline, 
	// comma, double quote or <.
	$ret = preg_replace("#(^|[\n ])((www|ftp)\.[^ \"\t\n\r<]*)#is", "\\1<a href=\"http://\\2\" >\\2</a>", $ret);

to
	// matches an "xxxx://yyyy" URL at the start of a line, or after a space.
	// xxxx can only be alpha characters.
	// yyyy is anything up to the first space, newline, comma, double quote or <
	$ret = preg_replace("#(^|[\n ])([\w]+?://[^ \"\n\r\t<]*)#is", "\\1<a href=\"\\2\">\\2</a> (<a href=\"http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=\\2\">validates?</a>)", $ret);

	// matches a "www|ftp.xxxx.yyyy[/zzzz]" kinda lazy URL thing
	// Must contain at least 2 dots. xxxx contains either alphanum, or "-"
	// zzzz is optional.. will contain everything up to the first space, newline, 
	// comma, double quote or <.
	$ret = preg_replace("#(^|[\n ])((www|ftp)\.[^ \"\t\n\r<]*)#is", "\\1<a href=\"http://\\2\" >\\2</a> (<a href=\"http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=\\2\">validates?</a>)", $ret);

I think I'll submit it to phpbb. Smile

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To enforce required validation or something less?

Very well put. Thank you.

I think most avenues of thought have been fully expressed. I'd be happy to help regarding developing a validate tools into the site GUI.

Side note: I was amused to spot validation errors on www.csscreator.com when I posted the example link (<ul><br /><li><li>] but they are now corrected. Laughing out loud Fast turn around.

Yes, FireFox and some of the extensions make validation very easy to spot and fix. Not enough people use FireFox IMHO. Hence the tools integration that those "default install" FF users and of course the IE users would hopefully find useful.

Carrots encourage. Sticks enforce. Which is needed here?

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To enforce required validation or something less?

There have always been a few validation warnings for this site but since Tony the forum owner/administrator de-tabled the code a lot fewer than a regular phpbb site I'm sure. Those that remain are likely deeply rooted in the core and a major pain to correct either that or Tony has not had time to deal with them. I don't think anything has been corrected recently.

Tony is the guy you need to chat to regarding adding a validate option to links.

Hugo.

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Anonymous
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To enforce required validation or something less?

Hugo wrote:
Tony is the guy you need to chat to regarding adding a validate option to links.
Yep. Tony is da man! Wink

Maybe he'll use my mod and I'll be king again. Tongue

Tyssen
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To enforce required validation or something less?

Hugo wrote:
Trevor it was nothing on the post that I got involved in

You'll notice that guy also reckoned he had extensive IT background in another field. It seems like those sort of people are always the quickest to fly off the handle.

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Hugo
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To enforce required validation or something less?

Funny isn't it; given the claimed background in mainframe/ backend / programming and the pressures that kind of work can bring to bear you would expect an entirely different type of personality, at least that's my experience they generally are rather calm balanced people not given to irrational outbursts.

I tend to roll eyes whenever I see someone claim that kind of skill now and tend to think to myself " well CSS is going to be a walk in the park for you"

Hugo

Before you make your first post it is vital that you READ THE POSTING GUIDELINES!
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Please post ALL your code - both CSS & HTML - in [code] tags
Please validate and ensure you have included a full Doctype before posting.
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Anonymous
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To enforce required validation or something less?

Hack submitted to phpbbhacks.com and to phpbb.com (not visible on phpbb.com yet).

http://www.phpbbhacks.com/download/5812

fatfreddy
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To enforce required validation or something less?

Personally, i don't agree on forcing validation, i also don't think that is what happens here.

It seems to me that all we want is for people to have put the effort in first ... something i was guilty of NOT doing in a couple of my first posts.

Being told that validating will clear up all the unrelated errors, therefore make it easier for me to try again to correct it myself, is helpful advice not arrogance or a disinclination to help.

As with most of you in here, i prefer helping people that have put the effort in themselves first.

I do second the idea of providing a validation tool link from the forum - it'll just make it easier for new posters to help themselves and then easier for us to help them.

IMHO

Freddy

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once
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